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Students, team suffer third loss

Karen Langley and Marcela Berrios | Monday, September 17, 2007

With the realized fear of an 0-3 record to kick off the year, saying students are disappointed, frustrated and pessimistic about the rest of the football season would be an understatement.

“We sucked,” sophomore Steven Mazer said about Notre Dame’s 38-0 loss to Michigan Saturday. “I have some friends coming this weekend for Michigan State. We’re going to get killed.”

And he wasn’t alone in his gloomy forecast.

Many students said they were embarrassed by the crushing defeat at Ann Arbor, and they don’t expect the first post-Brady Quinn season to get better. But at a school where traditionally, the fall semester equals the football semester, they said they’re still planning to attend the remaining games.

“The score isn’t the important thing. It’s the atmosphere,” freshman Natalie Parra said. “Even when we’re losing, it’s a great atmosphere.”

But some upperclassmen think it’s easier to stay as positive as Parra when there are still three years of football ahead.

“I’ve noticed for seniors, the pessimism has settled in much faster,” senior Jessica Rodriguez said. “And you can’t blame them. People want their senior year to be the best it can possibly be, especially their last football season as undergrads.”

Rodriguez said she’s heard many of her classmates say they’re not willing to drive to any more away games this season because “it’s not worth it.” She said she’s personally never been to an away game and she likely won’t make the effort to attend one – even if it’s her last chance to do it as a student.

“I’ll probably end up regretting having spent money on another defeat,” she said.

Senior Camila Bernal, who drove to Michigan this weekend, said she paid $80 for tickets, while scalpers at Ann Arbor were selling for $25 Saturday – and she felt slightly cheated.

“Both teams were really bad, so people didn’t value those tickets as much,” Bernal said. “If we were really good, like we have been in the past, people would be willing to pay hundreds of dollars, and it would be worth it. But this game was just a waste of money.”

She said she might still go to Purdue, based on the outcome of this weekend’s game.

“It’s my senior year. If I don’t go now, I won’t get a chance to do it later,” she said.

But students who are not graduating yet said they aren’t motivated enough to travel and spend money to go see Notre Dame play elsewhere.

“If [the Irish] were doing better, I’d be more inclined to go to an away game,” junior Emerson Cofell-Dwyer said. “Anything less than stellar won’t convince me to drive all that way.”

Sophomore Dan Dixon said he was also hesitant about going to an away game this season in light of Notre Dame’s recent performances.

“We were thinking about going to Purdue, but with the way the team’s been playing, it might not happen,” Dixon said.

But while his enthusiasm about Notre Dame football is dwindling, Dixon said his friends from rival colleges are still excited about coming to a game.

“I’ve got friends from Boston College. They think they’re going to win, so of course they’ll come,” he said.

Other potential visitors, however, may actually be deterred from journeying to South Bend unless it’s to see Notre Dame win.

Saint Mary’s freshman Claire Yancy said she had planned to have guests during a home game this season, but the team’s losing streak has affected their excitement about the trip.

“I have a couple people coming to visit. I don’t think they want to pay [for football tickets] anymore,” Yancy said. “They keep watching Notre Dame play, and they feel sad – but they still want to come. It’s the experience.”

And that half-heartedness may be the tone of the season.

“My uncle is coming in from Ohio for Michigan State. We’re not really expecting anything from the game itself, but the tailgating should be fun,” sophomore John Maltese said.

A few students, however, remained steadfast in their support of the team.

“The biggest thing we need to do as fans Saturday against Michigan State is – no matter the score – to give our 110 percent and let the team know how much we care,” freshman Sean McCullough said. “For the first game I came fully dressed as a leprechaun and I intend to do that at each home game. We could be 0-8 and I’ll still dress the same way.”